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It takes many crossroads to make a musical landscape

Lowell Wurster (left) and Kevin Sabourin (center) of the band Lucid, play at a recent First Weekends gathering with Gionanina Bucci.

Lowell Wurster (left) and Kevin Sabourin (center) of the band Lucid, play at a recent First Weekends gathering with Gionanina Bucci.

— Plattsburgh’s music community cannot be painted with a broad brush. It would be hard even to paint the music landscape on one mural.

On first blush, the music scene in Plattsburgh might appear to revolve around a couple downtown bars, a bunch of inebriated college kids and a few unruly locals looking for a fight. While that may have been the reality years ago, it has grown well beyond those constraints, and continues to evolve. While establishments like the Monopole and Olive Ridley’s remain stalwarts of live music here, smaller venues now share the landscape with a growing yearly music festival juggernaut in Peru, and other genres like bluegrass have carved out a presence outside the city as well.  

The number of bands in and around Plattsburgh rises and falls cyclically, and it appears that according to some in the local music industry that it’s currently on a low ebb. 

“Five years ago there must have been 10 or 15 local bands, whereas right now there just doesn’t seem to be,” said Corey Rosoff, owner of the Monopole who also does all the musical bookings for the bar. “The music scene is vibrant in Plattsburgh, I just see it with different bands now.”

The ebb and flow likely has a lot to do with North Country demographics. Small communities like Plattsburgh have long been known to suffer a “Brain Drain” of intellectual talent to larger cities with more job opportunities. A musical Brain Drain can be at play as well, as musicians leave towns for both better non-musical jobs, as well as more or possibly better opportunities to play their music. 

Occasionally, they come back. That was the case with local singer-songwriter Giovanina Bucci, who moved back to the North Country three years ago, after being away for 10 years. Having been away and come back, she has possibly a clearer perspective than most on how the scene has changed. She currently sees local support for music, and for the arts in general, to be much stronger than it was a decade ago. 

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